“Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.” —Thucydides, History of the Peloponnesian War
Since the game’s release in 2012, I’ve been pretty dubious about Legend of the Cryptids. LotC is a card game app from Applibot Inc, filled with spectacular artwork, but with a penchant for impractical armor and gratuitous cleavage. Based on the art I saw in the ads or posted to DeviantArt and Tumblr, I pretty much dismissed the game as kitschy, hyper-idealized, and hyper-sexualized* (which much of it is). Here recently, however, I’ve noticed an increase in the amount of non-revealing, more-protective armor worn by heroines from certain Cryptids artists. Tatiana had several excellent portraits, but Christina here was the heroine who really caught my eye.
There were a lot of things that stood out about Tatiana’s character amid the hundreds of paintings for Cryptids (on top of not looking either sultry or pissed, which seem to be the default expressions for most LotC ladies). I think what was most distinctive about Christina was the story told by the contrast between her expressions in the before and after images. According to Tatiana’s descriptions, the first image is from when Christi finished her final training as a knight and received her first real sword. Unfortunately, once in the service, she finds herself fighting other people instead of the demons and monsters she was expecting. The sense of wonder in the first image versus the loss of innocence in the second image is as telling as it is unmistakable. I applaud Tatiana for the humanity portrayed in her character and find myself wanting to hug Christi in both pictures.
I like the layered look of Christi’s plate mail. Many artists seem to forget that there needs to be padding between a soldier’s skin and their armor for both safety and maintenance reasons—metal chafes skin, sweat corrodes metal. The padded gambeson beneath her breastplate provides additional cushioning from blows our heroine takes, while the solid plating is virtually arrow-proof and provides excellent deflection and absorption in heavy melee.
I like as well the attention to joint protection, shoulders, elbows, hips, and knees. The extra plating helps prevent disabling blows to those areas. Arms and legs are well-protected with steel plates while Christi’s gauntlets are jointed and segmented to protect her hands without impeding her sword handling (plus, I don’t think I’d want to take a punch from those things).
The flapping cloak is pretty ubiquitous within the adventuring community, largely for it’s protectiveness from the weather and while traveling. Plus it adds to Christi’s sense of strength and authority. Lastly, her longsword is of excellent make: strong against armored foes, sharp for stabbing or lashing, and decorative for that extra bit of camp cred. All in all, the ensemble keeps our comely heroine safe and strong in the thick of battle.
Christi’s armor feels a bit overly ornate, I’ll admit. The fancy protrusions at the knees, wrists, and other parts of the armor are unnecessary and have potential to snag on things in battle or on cluttered terrain. Plus armor decorations are difficult and more expensive to repair when inevitably damaged in combat. And there are various other little details that seem a little off (not sure what’s holding those elbow plates on, and can she even bend her knees with those leg plates?), but on the whole I enjoy these portraits and find myself falling in love with Tat’s smart, charming heroine.
Massive thanks to Tatiana for letting me borrow Christina for the blog. Feel free to check out her other artwork on DeviantArt, Blogspot, and Art Station. Thanks so much for reading, folks! Take care and stay awesome!
*I want to go on the record as saying I don’t place blame on the artists themselves for the gratuity in some of this work. The artwork throughout Cryptids is stellar—absolutely amazing in terms of composition and detail. And it’s never the gratuitous sexuality that bothers me; it’s the assumption that an otherwise competent warrior woman would want huge gaps in her armor over her heart and entrails.